Legislature Adjourns for Week-Long Spring Recess
This week, the California State Senate and Assembly continued with a steady pace of policy and fiscal committee hearings. Following the adjournment of yesterday’s floor sessions, the Legislature began its week-long spring recess. Legislators are set to return to Sacramento on Monday, April 5, and, upon their return, will face a very busy month ahead.
Policy committee hearings will consume much of legislators’ time and attention throughout the month of April before the Legislature again shifts its focus to the budget corresponding with the release of the May Revise Budget by May 10.
The CHEAC Legislative Committee continues to review and identify recently amended bills of interest to local health departments and public health. Below, we highlight several of these measures. The latest edition of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart is available here.
Public Health Infrastructure
AB 240 (Rodriguez) as introduced January 13, 2021 – SPONSOR
CHEAC’s sponsored bill, AB 240 by Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, April 6. The measure would require the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to contract with an appropriate and qualified entity to conduct an evaluation of the adequacy of the local health department infrastructure and to make recommendations for future staffing, workforce, and resource needs. CHEAC is joined by HOAC and SEIU California in sponsoring the measure.
Built Environment & Climate Change
AB 585 (L. Rivas) as amended March 17, 2021 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Luz Rivas’ AB 585 was heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday. The measure establishes, upon appropriation by the Legislature, the Extreme Heat and Community Resilience Program within the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to coordinate state efforts to address extreme heat, facilitate implementation of climate change projects statewide, and reduce public health risks by establishing community resilience centers. The measure is sponsored by Climate Resolve and was advanced to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 9-0 vote with two members not voting.
California Children’s Services (CCS)
AB 382 (Kamlager) as introduced February 2, 2021 – SUPPORT
AB 382 by Assembly Member (now Senator) Sydney Kamlager was advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Tuesday on consent. The measure extends the termination of the DHCS Whole Child Model (WCM) Stakeholder Advisory Group by two years to December 31, 2023. The measure is sponsored by the California Children’s Hospital Association. CHEAC has a seat on the WCM Stakeholder Advisory Group and supports AB 382.
Chronic Disease Prevention & Wellness Promotion
SB 464 (Hurtado) as amended March 17, 2021 – SUPPORT
SB 464 by Senator Melissa Hurtado would modernize the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) by recasting eligibility criteria to include noncitizens meeting all CalFresh eligibility criteria except for requirements related to immigration status beginning January 2023. The measure is sponsored by the California Immigrant Policy Center and is supported by CHEAC and the County Welfare Directors Association of California (CWDA). SB 464 was advanced from the Senate Human Services Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday on a 4-1 vote.
AB 263 (Bonta) as revised March 24, 2021 – SUPPORT
AB 263 by Assembly Member Rob Bonta was heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday. AB 263 would require a private detention facility operator to comply with and adhere to all local and state public health orders and occupational safety and health regulations. The bill is sponsored by the Immigrant Defense Advocates, NextGen, Physicians for Human Rights, and the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice. CHEAC is joined by HOAC in supporting the measure which was unanimously advanced to the Assembly Floor on an 8-0 vote.
AB 1407 (Burke) as amended March 18, 2021 – SUPPORT
AB 1407 by Assembly Member Autumn Burke was recently significantly amended to require nursing schools and programs to include in their curriculum coursework on implicit bias. Nurse licensees within the first two years of holding their license would be required to complete one hour of direct participation in an implicit bias course and hospitals would be required to implement an evidence-based implicit bias program as part of its new nursing graduate training program. CHEAC is proud to support AB 1407.
SB 17 (Pan) as amended February 25, 2021 – SUPPORT
Senator Richard Pan’s SB 17 was heard in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee on Tuesday. SB 17 would establish a statewide Office of Racial Equity to be governed by a Racial Equity Advisory and Accountability Council to coordinate, analyze, develop, evaluate, and recommend strategies for advancing racial equity across state agencies, departments, and the office of the Governor. The Office would be required to develop a statewide Racial Equity Framework, and state agencies would be required to develop and implement a Racial Equity Action Plan that aligns with the statewide framework. CHEAC strongly supports SB 17 as it aligns with CHEAC’s statement on racism as a public health crisis, as well as the county leaders’ statement on racism as a public health crisis. SB 17 was advanced from the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 9-3 vote with three Senators not voting.
Public Health Emergency Preparedness
AB 1202 (Cervantes) as amended March 22, 2021 – WATCH
AB 1202 by Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes would require a county to ensure that local assistance centers are accessible to people with access and functional needs. Counties would be required to designate, prearrange, and procure space to aid in sheltering and transporting its homeless population during local and state emergencies and emergency evacuations. In its next update to its emergency plan, counties would also be required to integrate transportation and sheltering plans that include strategies for ensuring shelters and local assistance centers are accessible to homeless populations. Counties would also be required to enter into agreements with transportation agencies to transport its homeless populations to shelters and local assistance centers in the event of a local or state emergency. CHEAC took a “Watch” position on AB 1202 this week.
AB 1488 (Cervantes) as amended March 22, 2021 – WATCH
Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes’ AB 1488 would require counties, upon its next update to its emergency plans, to work with Mutual Aid and Administrative Regions, the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), and the California Department of Public Health to coordinate interregional agreements for acquisition of medical equipment for access and functional needs populations. Subject to an appropriation by the Legislature, EMSA would also be required to contract with city and county local emergency medical services agencies to provide prearranged assistance to local jurisdictions in planning, organizing, implementing, and maintaining regional emergency medical equipment. CHEAC this week took a “Watch” position on this bill.
AB 541 (Berman) as amended March 2, 2021 – SUPPORT
Assembly Member Marc Berman’s AB 541 was advanced from the Assembly Health Committee to the Assembly Appropriations Committee on consent this week. AB 541 would require alcoholism and substance use disorder recovery and treatment facilities licensed by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to assess each patient or client for tobacco use at the time of initial intake. If a tobacco use disorder is identified, a facility or program is required to provide specified information, including an offer for treatment or referral for tobacco use disorder treatment.